Book of Urizen, The (excerpts)

CHAPTER 1

Lo, a shadow of horror is risen
 In Eternity! Unknown, unprolific,
 Self-clos'd, all-repelling: what demon
 Hath form'd this abominable void,
 This soul-shudd'ring vacuum? Some said
 "It is Urizen." But unknown, abstracted,
 Brooding, secret, the dark power hid.

CHAPTER 2

Times on times he divided and measur'd
 Space by space in his ninefold darkness,
 Unseen, unknown; changes appear'd
 Like desolate mountains, rifted furious
 By the black winds of perturbation.

CHAPTER 3

For he strove in battles dire,
 In unseen conflictions with shapes
 Bred from his forsaken wilderness
 Of beast, bird, fish, serpent and element,
 Combustion, blast, vapour and cloud.

CHAPTER 4

Dark, revolving in silent activity:
 Unseen in tormenting passions:
 An activity unknown and horrible,
 A self-contemplating shadow,
 In enormous labours occupied.

CHAPTER 5

But Eternals beheld his vast forests;
 Age on ages he lay, clos'd, unknown,
 Brooding shut in the deep; all avoid
 The petrific, abominable chaos. 6
 His cold horrors silent, dark Urizen
 Prepar'd; his ten thousands of thunders,
 Rang'd in gloom'd array, stretch out across
 The dread world; and the rolling of wheels,
 As of swelling seas, sound in his clouds,
 In his hills of stor'd snows, in his mountains
 Of hail and ice; voices of terror
 Are heard, like thunders of autumn
 When the cloud blazes over the harvests.

William Blake

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